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Charlie prepares biggest print run

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is preparing its biggest ever print run in the wake of the massacre at its Paris offices, as French president Francois Hollande paid tribute to three police officers killed in last week's deadly attacks.

The magazine's editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said the latest edition, featuring a cartoon of a crying Prophet Mohammed on the cover, had been "drawn up in pain and joy".

Three million copies will be printed and it will be translated into English, Spanish and Arabic, with versions available in Italy and Turkey,

It came as funerals took place in Paris and Jerusalem for some of the 17 people killed in the terror attacks, including the police officers gunned down, with president Hollande telling mourners: "They died so that we can live free."

Mr Biard told a press conference in Paris: "We're happy to have got to it and it's been tough.

"The main story was complicated because, of course, it had to say something about us, and it had to say something about the event we were faced with. This edition - the whole of Charlie Hebdo is in it. This edition is Charlie Hebdo."

The magazine shows the Prophet Mohammed against a green background with a tear streaming down his cheek, holding a sign reading Je Suis Charlie - the I Am Charlie rallying cry that has been used as a show of unity in the wake of the attacks.

The headline carries the phrase Tout Est Pardonne (All Is Forgiven), which French media have interpreted to mean Mohammed is forgiving the cartoonists for lampooning him.

Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renald "Luz" Luzier told the press conference he had drawn Mohammed as a "man who is crying".

"We are cartoonists and we like drawing little characters, just as we were as children," he said.

"The terrorists, they were kids, they drew just like we did, just like all children do. At one point they lost their sense of humour. At one point they lost the soul of their child which allowed them to look at the world with a certain distance.

"I'm sorry we've drawn him yet again but the Mohammed we've drawn is a man who is crying."

David Cameron said Britain was at risk from a group of people who believed in a "fanatical death cult" of Islamic extremism.

Interviewed on Heart radio, the Prime Minister said he was not surprised that Charlie Hebdo had published an image of the prophet in its new issue, and other publications were free to do so.

"In a free country with free expression, it is perfectly clear - you can be offended sometimes," Mr Cameron said.

"There will be many Muslims who are offended by a depiction of the prophet. But being offended by something is not a justification for violence.

"The overwhelming majority of Muslims completely understand and agree with that view."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended the cover as part of an "ideological struggle" to maintain a free society and suggested he could be among those snapping up a copy of the magazine.

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary described the latest depiction of Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo as an attempt to "incite Muslims even more".

The exact number of copies of the magazine that will be on sale in the United Kingdom is not yet known.

Wholesalers Smiths News, Comag and Menzies Distribution all said they would be distributing it.

But retailer WH Smith said that it would not be selling the magazine as it does not usually stock the title.

In a solemn ceremony in Paris this morning, Mr Hollande saluted the "courage, the bravery, the dignity" of Franck Brinsolaro, Ahmed Merabet and Clarissa Jean-Philippe, the three police officers killed on January 7 and 8.

The other dead included four hostages killed later in a kosher supermarket, who have been remembered this morning at funerals in Israel.

Seventeen people were killed in a two-day spree launched by fundamentalist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and their friend, Amedy Coulibaly.

The attacks began on Wednesday when hooded gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo during the magazine's mid-morning editorial conference, killing 12 people, including a policeman who rushed to help.

Bulgarian authorities said today that they had arrested a French citizen believed to have links to one of the Kouachi brothers.

Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, was arrested under two European arrest warrants, one citing his alleged links to a terrorist organisation, and a second for allegedly kidnapping his three-year-old son and smuggling him out of the country, said Darina Slavova, regional prosecutor of the southern province of Haskovo.

In London Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, told MPs today that between 3,000 and 5,000 European Union nationals pose a potential terrorist threat to Europe after travelling overseas to countries such as Syria.


From Belfast Telegraph